Improve Office Life

Life in the office can get pretty boring, not only for your employees but for you too. So much so that production levels can drop dramatically. People assume that it’s the job that people hate so much about coming to work, but in a lot of cases it can just be the atmosphere that gets everyone down. Turning a boring office into an exciting, work friendly one isn’t that hard either. With a few little pointers below, you can make office life enjoyable for everyone again.

Better Working Conditions

Lets face it, some offices can just be a complete dive, especially if they’re unmanaged. As the old saying goes, a cluttered desk is a cluttered mind, so having a little spring clean of the office will help to boost a positive vibe. Nobody likes working in a messy environment, your employees might just be too busy to do so. Dedicate half an hour once a week to having a spring clean of the desks so everywhere looks a little more neat. It isn’t just the desks that will need a bit of tending to, the office in general can be prone to becoming rubbish central. If you know you’re terrible at keeping the whole room clean, then look into a contract office cleaning service. It’ll save you so much time and effort, and will create such a better working environment. Not only that, but if you hold meetings with clients within the office, it gives off a much better impression if the place is neat and tidy.

Let There Be Light

No matter where you work, a dark and dingy office area is just not the best environment to be in. We can all admit that now the nights are getting darker quicker, it is a little bit depressing to be trapped somewhere with such little light, which a lot of offices seem to do so. You need to make the space as open and as bright as you possibly can. The best way of doing this is by creating artificial light, especially as the nights are getting darker. Paint the walls a fresh coat of white to begin with, then purchase some brighter bulbs to make the place look a little more alive. It’ll also help to improve the focus of your employees if the room is a bit brighter.

Additions

It isn’t always about what an office looks like, it’s about what you put in it that makes the improvement. First things first, you need to create an escape where people can go to get away from their desks. Nothing is worse than being stuck at a desk all day. A chill out area is perfect for letting people switch off. Create a corner and put in a few beans bags and a sofa. Add in a TV and maybe a coffee table with some magazines and your employees will love the office again. If you can afford to, purchase a fairly cheap fridge and fill it with different drinks and snacks. It shouldn’t hurt your wallet too much to do so, but it’ll make the whole office happy.

Image: StockSnap

How customer service has changed

The world of customer service has changed dramatically since the 90’s. The Internet has played a huge role in this, of course. But the changes reach much further than just the increased use of technology. Customers’ expectations and choice of communication methods have changed a great deal, too.

Even the smallest of businesses need to get to grips with these changes because if you’re not up to speed with customer expectations you could find your customers drifting away to a competitor or them airing their less-than-flattering views about you on social media!

Here are some areas to consider when planning your approach to customer service (and customer success):

Technology

Back in the day customers used to drop into a store or call during business hours. Now there are multiple channels that customers can use to get in touch, including the phone, web forms, email and chat. (We’ll look at social media below). This technology allows the business to give customer service 24/7 and done well, it can give the customer a better experience too.

Social media

Customers are often turning to social media for customer service instead of the one-to-one communication channels they used in the past. This means that complaints are now public and the team that handles social media in the business need to be trained in both marketing and customer service. Any negativity needs to be handled sensitively so that the customer feels heard and that the issue doesn’t escalate. Customer service isn’t all about complaints, though. Praise given by customers on social media platforms can be excellent word-of mouth marketing for the business. Here are some great examples of social media being used for customer service.

Data 

The increased use of technology means that there is more data available than ever before. This means that businesses can use their customers’ data to build an even more personal customer experience over time. Customer success software can be used to identify what customers are missing and where you can help them.

Expectations

The availability of 24/7 sales and customer service means that customers expect a response – and a resolution – in a shorter time frame than before. Fail to respond to this and you’ll find your customers going elsewhere. That may be fine for large companies with call centres but it can present a challenge for small businesses. Fortunately, there are inexpensive ways that a small business can offer timely service including automation tool such as Facebook bots that respond to customer requests or using an outsourced call handling service. A page of FAQ videos can help customers resolve simple problems themselves.

Image: Wordandapix

The Four Most Important Words To A Stressed Boss

When running a business, especially during those tough two first years, stress is going to feel like an old friend. But not one you’re happy to see. The one that trips you up and undermines you at every chance. Responsibility has a big part to play in that stress, but your workload might contribute a lot more than you think. Rather than trying to get your head down and power through, it might make a lot more sense to work smartly, instead.

Image: PourquoiPas

Manage

Rather than focusing on managing your team so much, learn to trust them and instead learn how to manage yourself. Spend some time every morning prioritizing your work. Decide what needs to be done, what should be done, and what can wait. From that, allocate each task a time and fit it into a daily schedule. If it’s not on the schedule, don’t worry about it. However, do leave a little spare time. Within it, you can fit any sudden and urgent issues that pop up, or fit in some of the lower priority work if you find the time.

Automate

There is so much software out there that can make work so much more efficient that it’s entirely self-defeating to not use it. Automating can ensure that human error doesn’t get in the way of some of the crucial elements of the business, as well. HR management software allows you to rest assured that the monotonous, yet critical, duty of seeing employees compensated is taken care of. Accounting software can ensure all your books are kept up to date. While you can trust the best of these to work well, don’t get complacent. Check the work before you act on it.

Outsource

If it needs a more human touch but you find yourself unable to keep up with the demands of the work, then you should look at letting someone outside the team handle it as well. Outsourcing some duties like contract packaging, fulfillment, and delivery allow a smaller business to make use of much more established services. Others, such as IT system management and website development, are more about being able to use expertise that you don’t have a full-time need for.

Delegating

If you do have the expertise within the team, then consider occasionally delegating to your employees. This should be used sparingly at best and with a few caveats. For one, don’t delegate the most monotonous of jobs. It should have some training value for the team member helping you. Second, don’t delegate your job critical processes. Don’t expect employees to take responsibility for decisions or objectives that you should solely be handling yourself. Finally, ask permission. You may be the employer, but if your employee doesn’t think they are suited to handle the task or they have too much on their plate as it is, you have to respect that. You can’t and shouldn’t expect them to always be willing to work outside their role.

You are only one person and can do so much. Know what you can do, make sure you get it done and find a way to make the rest more achievable without taking up all your time. You will start to fall in love with the business if you get it right.

Social Media 101: How to Market Your Brand without the Fuss

Social media platform isn’t considered a phenomenon just because of how many people use it (and continue to do so). It’s because of how it has managed to insert itself into so many aspects of life, business included. There was a time when the only way you could properly advertise your business or agency was through the use of traditional media such as newspapers, radio, television, billboards, and word of mouth.

In a way, the Internet is a lot like the newspaper’s more successful younger brother. It connects us in similar ways, though people from the newspaper era might have considered what it’s capable of now impossible. So, it’s no surprise that business marketing has found a way to thrive in the online world – with social media being the king of advertising.

How do social media affect my brand?

Simply put, it affects your brand by exposing it to the masses. Whether they have positive or negative things to say about your products, having a social media aspect to your business will make sure that there will always be a potential consumer reading about your business. The better you are at marketing your brand through social media, the more doors it will open as more and more people end up trying your products or your services. It does however involve plenty of legwork, requiring you to really focus on advertising and connecting with your consumers through social media platforms.

What can I do to make social media marketing easier for my business?

One of the best ways to accomplish this is to hire the services of professionals capable of handling all of the ins and outs of your company’s social media footprint. While they might cost a pretty penny compared to going for an in-house solution, their effort speaks for itself. It might seem a bit strange to immediately go for professionals when you feel like you can handle the social media aspect on your own. After all, social media was made to be convenient. Too many companies however have underestimated this and ended up falling short.

By going for a professional social media marketing agency, they can act as your voice and continue to advertise your brand while you concentrate on other aspects. For example, because you don’t have to worry about the ins and outs, it will free up some time to study what your users think, through their reviews and opinions. This kind of insight can prove to be very invaluable, which is why agencies such as those in social media marketing Cornwall offers are making waves. A professional alternative can be a sound strategy.

Image: Pixabay

Time Spent On Hiring Is Time Well Spent

You will never forget the first person you hire. It doesn’t matter if you started out as a solopreneur that suddenly needed to expand or you’re one of three co-founders that always wanted to grow; your first employee is memorable – your role is to make sure they are memorable for the right reasons.

You are now in responsible for someone else’s livelihood, you have proof your business is worth working for and you have a sudden boost in productivity. It’s a huge adjustment to get used to, and the benefits are incredible. However, the pressure is on to find that perfect person, and here is some advice on how:

It’s A Race Against Time

As soon as it becomes clear you could do with an extra pair of hands, make your moves to hire someone. Yes, it will probably be tight at first, but having someone else devote forty-plus hours a week to your cause will be more than worth it. More brainpower, more ideas, more innovation and more resource.

Their Future Not Their Past

You really want to be hiring someone based on their potential, not one they have achieved thus far. One of your key responsibilities is to see the potential in others, but it also goes beyond this – you also need to draw that potential out, which is where others may have failed. Yes, the fact they have worked someone well-known and have years of experience is good, but don’t underestimate the power of passion, empathy and a shared mission. Oh, and the fact they’ve worked in lots of places before is not a bad thing. After all, you probably dated a lot of people before you found the one.

Bring On The Professionals

Finding the perfect person is not as simple as putting an ad onto some job board and waiting for them to come to you. Oh no. That will be like trying to find a cotton wool ball in a snowstorm. Instead, you need to bring on some professionals to help you. If you are looking to hire an HR professional in order to scale up, then speak to some HR interim services that have a wide net of relationships. When it comes to standing out and attracting top talent, hire a creative copywriter to do your job description in a way that sells your culture as much as anything. Hiring isn’t easy. It is fierce, competitive and important. Remember that.

Don’t Allow Any Room For BS

It doesn’t take the most accomplished BS’er to blag their way through a set of interview questions and that’s because most of them are generic and rubbish. So, instead of just asking questions and letting a bunch of chatterboxes convince you they are right, have them complete a task of some sort. If it is a salesperson you’re hiring, then have them sell you something. If it is a marketer, then have then come up with an outreach strategy of some sort. If it is a creative copywriter, have them tell the story of your brand, even if it just to show off the tone. Trust us, you will separate the ones who want and deserve a shot from the ones just looking for a paycheck.

Image: startupstock